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Bees and Wasps

Bees and Wasps: What to Know

When most people think of bees and wasps, only a handful come to mind like bumblebees, honey bees, and yellowjackets. But all these bees and wasps are actually part of a much bigger order of insects collectively known as Hymenoptera. Believe it or not, the Hymenoptera order contains over 150000 living species! The ones that you should be concerned about as a Seattle area homeowner are within the groups parasitica and aculeata.

Even within those groups, there is a lot of diversity. Although you don’t see many of them, over 4000 species of wasps live in the United States. Having said that, only a small number of eusocial wasps—which is to say, hive-builders—are bothersome pests. The same is true of bees. Or if you would like to speak to the professionals at Eastside Exterminators about a possible infestation, call (425) 482-2100 now. We offer proven, affordable pest control that can help you get rid of bees and wasps, and other pests.

Nest Removal for  Bees, Hornets, Yellow Jackets and Wasps

If a nest of stinging insects has your family worried, our pest management professionals can work to treat it quickly. Our technicians train to take care of this process with methods that are safe for your family and the environment. This can include low impact green pest control if necessary. For bees and wasps, as well as hornets, activity in the nest will typically subside within 24 hours. However, we ask that you allow 3-5 days for complete control. After 5 days have passed, the nest can be removed if desired. With that said, removing the physical nest is not necessary, as wasps and hornets will not recolonize it later. This is important to know since some nests, such as those found in wall voids, cannot be retrieved.

Read on below to find out about common bees and wasps you may encounter on your property in our area.
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Often confused with yellow-jacket wasps, Paper wasps (Polistes spp.) are also yellow and black, but they are a little longer, a little narrower, and the legs are much longer. They can be easily distinguished by their legs hanging beneath them as they fly. The nests are relatively small and are composed of a single open layer of honeycombed paper mache and are most often found under soffits and eaves and other protected areas.

Types of Wasps

Polistes wasp

Polistes wasps are not aggressive, and rarely sting unless provoked.

A nest usually consists only of a fertilized female and her 8-12 offspring, who abandon the nest not long after hatching. They may build their nests in the open, in a crack or crevice, or inside an attic or crawlspace. They are susceptible to most insecticides, either sprayed on the nest itself or on the cracks and crevices where the wasps come and go.

Frequently, there may be as many as two or even three generations of Polistes wasps produced each season (spring through fall). Most buildings have a few nests; some have many nests. An exterior insecticide treatment under the eaves and of the various cracks and crevices on the exterior goes a long way towards reducing their numbers, as long as the treatment is repeated at the lifetime of the chemical used.

Mud dauber wasp

Mud daubers are a long, slender wasp, usually black with some orange or yellow. They have a definite “wasp waist” – a filament connecting the thorax and abdomen. They can sting, but are not aggressive and rarely do so unless handled.

Mud daubers are solitary wasps. Each fertilized female builds a small nest out of gathered mud, which is attached to an exterior surface, or in an attic, crawlspace or other enclosed area. She lays 8-12 eggs in the nest, which become larvae and then pupate in the nest, emerging the following spring or summer. The nest looks like a mud tube, usually about 1 inch wide by about 2-3 inches long. If the nest has holes in it, the new wasps have already emerged and flown away.

Mud daubers may be treated with a residual spray and then scraped or knocked off. Preventative treatments are usually effective if repeated at the lifetime of the product used.

Yellow Jackets

Aggressive, venomous, and easily agitated describe Yellow-jackets, especially in Fall when their nests are at their largest. Yellow-jackets may build their nests virtually anywhere – in a hollow space in the ground, hanging in a tree, hanging beneath eaves, in an attic or crawlspace, or in a wall void are common locations. Yellow-jackets are predators whose presence is usually not seen until the colony is large enough to be in the way of human activities like mowing the lawn, painting or when they make their way into the living space.

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Baldfaced Hornets

Although technically not a true hornet, the Baldfaced hornet is commonly found in the Seattle / Puget Sound. This species of wasp is most closely related to yellow-jackets and has similar behaviors. Baldfaced hornets can become extremely aggressive and dangerous when their nest threatened. They can be identified by their black bodies and white markings and their distinctive teardrop-shaped nest.

Baldfaced Hornet Dolichovespula maculata

Behavior: Aggressive, venomous, easily agitated.

Similar to yellowjackets in shape, but larger and with black/white colors rather than black/yellow, baldfaced hornets are another dangerous social wasp. Although nests can be large, the colonies are themselves small, usually having several hundred workers. Baldfaced hornet nests are nearly always found hanging on eaves, trees or other exterior locations and are only very rarely found in enclosed spaces. The same care and caution used in dealing with yellowjackets should be used when dealing with bald-faced hornets – there aren’t as many in a nest, but they are larger, and they inject more venom when they sting. Liquids or aerosols are the best formulations to use in treating their nests. Because of their aggressive nature, it is advised to have a pest control professional treat and remove the nest.


Bees are beneficial insects but can possibly be dangerous when they nest near your home. Bee stings are painful and life threatening when the victim is allergic. Because treatment strategies differ for bee and wasp infestations, proper identification is critical to success.

Note: Eastside Exterminators does not treat for honey bees. Instead, we contact a local beekeeper to remove the queen and as much of the colony as possible.

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